How to Get Through: Self Care From the Eyes of a Calo Parent

I received this in an email from Annelieke, the mother of two former Calo students. I appreciated her sending this and letting me post it for you. Let me know if what she says resonates with any of you. Here is what she wrote:

How to Get Through

As parents with two children who have graduated from Calo, somehow more and more families in my geographic area who also struggle with attachment issues, find us.

Several times each month I find myself in conversation with parents so much like us, with all of the bewilderment, sadness, guilt, fatigue, and stress-related issues we had.
Helpful people often say to us parents You have to take care of yourself, not realizing that this feels in fact, often just impossible. We dont even WANT to take care of ourselves, because the sense of hopelessness and fear for our children and our families is so paramount. The relief we felt when our daughters did arrive at Calo and we were back home, knowing they were safe, and knowing we could take a deep breath, was also the time we felt both how little we had been doing to sustain our own bodies and souls, but also what we HAD in fact been doing and not realizing it.

One way I did it was to listen over and over again to my beloved heroic soundtracks. The Rambo soundtracks, cuts from Black Hawk Down, Blood Diamond, Transformers, these big orchestral homages to individual and group heroism were the right soundtrack to my life at the time. My girls were doing something heroic, and my husband and I were too. He worked in his wood shop after work, where the noise from saws and fans and planers made his personal soundtrack. Sometimes we went out, but rarely. I tried to catch up on things I had let go for far too long. I enjoyed the feeling of getting up with less dread. I talked with my other children often. I tried to be aware of the ways in which I did, in fact, take care of myself, and had, even when the girls were home before Calo, but had not realized it then. A check-in with a friend every couple of days. Visiting my father and watching British comedy. Therapy.

My point is only this; as Calo parents, we share certain quality of life issues. Our children get through, and we do too. But its much better when we understand how, and there are as many ways of taking care of ourselves as there are Calo parents, and it helps to know how we are doing that. Sometimes its not the obvious, like a mani/pedi or a great meal out. The opportunity to reflect a little bit once our children are safe at Calo presents a chance to be more mindful of our own care and nurturing, how we do that for ourselves and how others help. Just like our wonderful children, we need all the caring we can find. And when that social call comes around on Sunday, and the family session later in the week, we can bring all of the honesty, concentration and love we have to those times.